Top Social Platforms Losing Some Traction as News Sources

A third of U.S. adults continue to get their news regularly from Facebook, though the number has declined from 36 percent in 2020 to 31 percent in 2021. This reduction marks an overall drop in the number of Americans who say they get their news from any social media source — a figure that dropped by 5 percentage points year-over-year (from 53 percent in 2020 to just under 48 percent this year). TikTok was the only major platform to gain during this period. The general decline comes as social media companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misinformation on their platforms, Pew Research notes.

TikTok grew from 22 percent of users saying they regularly got their news on the platform in 2020 to 29 percent in 2021. The survey was conducted July 26 to August 8, 2021.

By “regularly” the Pew study means survey respondents get their news either “often” or “sometimes,” as opposed to “rarely,” “never” or “don’t get digital news.”

Despite the credibility skepticism, “the percentage of Americans who regularly get their news from various social media sites hasn’t changed too much over the past year, demonstrating how much a part of people’s daily news habits these sites have become,” TechCrunch reports.

The criticism has heated-up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, “leading to vaccine hesitancy and refusal, which in turn has led to worsened health outcomes for many Americans who consumed the misleading information,” TechCrunch notes.

According to Pew, 22 percent of respondents say they regularly get news on YouTube, 13 percent from Twitter and 11 percent from Instagram. In addition, 55 percent of Twitter users regularly get news from that platform, (compared to 59 percent in 2020). Reddit news use dropped from 42 percent to 39 percent in 2021. YouTube fell from 32 percent to 30 percent, and Snapchat fell from 19 percent to 16 percent. Instagram numbers were largely the same (28 percent in 2020 to 27 percent in 2021).

Overall, most of the sites have “very little traction” with the wider adult population in the U.S.: Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans regularly get their news from Reddit (7 percent), TikTok (6 percent), LinkedIn (4 percent), Snapchat (4 percent), WhatsApp (3 percent) or Twitch (1 percent).

“In a way, it’s a measurement of the shifting news consumption behaviors of the often younger social media user, more specifically,” TechCrunch reports.

TikTok Shopping Expands with More Partnerships, LIVE Shopping, New Ads and More, TechCrunch, 9/29/21